UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tyler Stom and Adam Larson had a vision: to unite students interested in energy-industry careers around the idea of giving back to the community through environmental activities. The duo, both petroleum and natural gas engineering (PNGE) students in Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, took the first step in making their dream a reality by forming a campus organization called Positive Energy. On Earth Day, the club made its first positive impact by planting 201 trees in Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania.
The students planted trees near a gas pipeline right-of-way, where land was cleared for access. Energy companies are required to restore land after construction is completed, and the students pitched in by planting 201 Norway spruce evergreens, which were donated by Western Lehigh Landscape.
Stom, who hails from Hughesville, Pennsylvania and Larson, a native of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, see Positive Energy as a way students can get involved in community service, which is an emphasis for many companies in the energy industry today.
“So many energy-industry companies focus their efforts on giving back, whether that’s through donating money to improve local roads or forming service-focused employee organizations. We have just as much opportunity as students to give back,” says Stom, who is graduating this spring and will begin working with Noble Energy in June 2015.
The idea for Positive Energy came to Stom after mentoring first- and second-year students for in his role as events coordinator for Penn State’s Society of Petroleum Engineers.
“Younger students approach me frequently, asking how they can prepare for the workforce. To me, it’s a balance of four things: grades, student involvement, leadership and industry-relevant experience,” said Stom.
“We have a few student organizations that help students network with energy industry professionals, but none that focus on community service,” he added. “We wanted to change that.”
Though they initially formed the organization with students from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences — including energy business and finance, environmental systems engineering, mining engineering, geosciences and geography — the organization is open to all students, regardless of major.
“This is a club, and everyone’s opinion is going to count,” said Larson. “If you have good ideas, and you want to give back to the community in an environmental way, we want you to join our organization.”
Any students or organizations interested in getting involved can contact Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.